A Magician's Blog

A Magician's Blog

Scrubbing the Temple Floors of Wicca


Imagine an atheist reading one “Catholicism How-To” book, then going into every avenue of communication and speaking to people claiming to be able to teach Catholicism. This hypothetical, exuberant “Catholicism For Dummies” reader is frequently incorrect; they have never attended a Mass, they have not been baptized or raised in the Church, they have not received training in service, nor do they believe in God. Regardless, they speak with confidence and joy, describing the ins and outs of how they view Catholicism. Let's take the hypothetical idea a step further: let's say an actual Catholic priest notices their presence and corrects them, politely asserting that they are misguided. The How-To reader gets offended and says, “How dare you tell me my perspective is wrong?” So the knowledgeable, properly trained priest, who has spent decades in study and discipline, is silenced, and the beginner How-To Manual reader is allowed to speak as loudly as they want. People don't mind because they are polite and cheerful in their religious views. Their motto is “Catholicism is something personal, and so is our connection to God, however we may view him.” The priest has his work to do, so he goes his own way and devotes his time to the church, his true job anyway.

     Now let's say a majority of new Catholics begin to do this. Let's say eventually that public representation for Catholicism is a majority of newcomers. Their message seems welcoming to fellow newcomers who before had been intimidated by the complex and difficult rituals of the Catholic church. Soon their voice becomes the one up-and-coming Catholics consistently listen to. After a while, the whole philosophy within the discourse and discussion of the Catholic faith is shifted into one built by people who have no unifying methodology or training in the religion, who are self-taught, who demand no quality control. Catholics are now said to be able to be Christians, atheists, denounce Christ yet still worship God, make Mary the Goddess of Catholicism, get rid of the Mass if they don't feel drawn to it, and on and on until each feels that their spiritual experience of Catholicism is completely comfortable for them, built according to their whims and preferences. Now, truly... does this sound like Catholicism? Is this still Catholicism?

When you envision this situation you can see the public face of Wicca which predominates in most spiritual communities, on most social networks and forums, and the most powerful spiritual publishing companies. For the past thirty years Wicca has largely been spoken for publicly by people who simply don't know what they are talking about, and who silence people who actually do. Silencing those who speak too “dogmatically” is often permitted under the guise of political correctness or “positive, much-needed reformation” in the “old-fashioned, outdated form” of the religion. In the present, simply giving a traditionalist viewpoint on popular forums and public social networks will get you silenced and labeled a dogmatist or a bigot. 

     As a member of the traditionalist community I must honestly look at where this climate has led us. What I see overwhelmingly is a discordant, misinformed, incommunicative bunch of amateur “Wiccans” holding a microphone that they, frankly, stole from the trained and initiated priests of a complex and meaningful religion they never would've wanted to be a part of in the first place. Behind these voices there is little experience, where their traditionalist counterparts hold literally lifetimes of experience in an expansive area of occult sciences and consciously-molded magical practices

     It has been a long journey for Wicca to emerge into the spotlight of world religions, and many peaks and valleys have formed in that timeline. At one point many initiates of the religion were focused on high standards, occult discipline, and proper training; at another proper training was practically taboo while self-training was hailed as “independent” and more “free.” 

     Much of the properly initiated priesthood are growing increasingly tired of Neo-Wicca, including, unabashedly, myself. We are tired of dabbling Pagans who haven't a drop of spirituality in their politic-fueled religions. We are tired of people who don't practice what they speak about and who never tried to understand what they criticize. We are tired of pretenders and people wanting to reap the benefits of the title of a legitimate religion without doing any of the work its actual members put into it over the course of decades. We are also tired of having to support these aforementioned “Wiccans” and Pagans who oppose almost everything we stand for: the upward development of the soul, the love of the Gods, the support and encouragement of our brothers and sisters of the Art, and the eventual attainment of action based on true will.

     What is already happening in response, and what will continue to happen, is the steady cleanup act. Like devoted monks scrubbing the worn floors of the temple, a restoration will take place: a polishing off of the tarnish to restore the glory of a religion that was almost hijacked.

     British Traditional Witchcraft, also called Wicca, is an initiatory mystery religion which I am honored to be a part of. If the temple floors need scrubbing, I will gladly scrub away. As Alex Sanders said, “The Wicca is an act of love," as Aristotle said, “To love excellence is truly to love the gods."

by Austin Shippey